Ham and Butternut Squash

I was going to do some updates on the site, today, and when I scrolled down the page I remembered I needed to order more garlic powder from Atlantic Spice. I was a good boy and only ordered the garlic powder. And some more black pepper. And some reusable shopping bags. And a t-shirt. Not bad for me.

Then, I absentmindedly clicked on the link to Fante’s in South Philadelphia. Mistake.

I spent the next hour going through page after page and item after item of things I just don’t need – but would love to have.

I’ve reached the point in life where I’m trying to get rid of things – and simultaneously thinking I could use new tin springform pans, a pullman loaf tin, maybe an oval game pie mold, a whole set of loose-bottomed baking pans – and that was just in the first three minutes. Then I started getting serious.

There were a dozen pasta roller attachments that we could use because why would you cut your dough sheets with a knife if you could use a cutter attachment? And then I found bottles. I think I have a serious problem when it comes to bottles, jars, and containers, but I was able to just look, knowing there are two other websites devoted solely to bottles and jars linked from the bottom of this page. I don’t mess around.

Wooden spoons. We could always use a few more – even though we already have a dozen of them and I really only use my favorite one. Okay. I passed on those, as well.

Actually, I passed on all of it, thinking that maybe we’ll take a trip down there sometime soon. I want to go to Claudio’s, as well. I did mention that I’m trying to declutter, not add more stuff, right?!?

We really – really – don’t need anything.

Case in point… tonight’s dinner.

I rarely use the stoneware casserole I used, tonight. It’s a perfect size, has a lid, and sits in a sideboard in the dining room because there’s no room for it in the kitchen. There’s a matching dutch oven that goes with it. Both are stove-top safe with a difuser. And I rarely use them because I have a dozen other things I can use. It’s ridiculous – and yet, I still look at things and think how nice it would be to have them. At least I’m not buying everything I see – I really am getting better. Really.

And I’m cooking smaller portions. I think that’s actually more difficult than not buying everything in sight. But I’m getting better at it. I just need a lot more smaller casseroles, loose-bottomed cake pans…


I took a third of a butternut squash and roasted it about halfway. Meanwhile, I cooked up a chopped leek, a bit of red pepper, and some sliced ham from the freezer.

Next, I added some fresh peas, a bit of chicken broth, the partially-cooked squash, salt, pepper, and a pinch of French herbs. When it came to a boil, I took it off the heat, stirred in some shredded jack cheese and put it into the aforementioned casserole. Into a 425°F oven for 30 minutes.

Lots of individual flavors that all went together well.

And I did it without buying anything new for the kitchen.